I don't often get the chance to be a part of a web conference because of the timing, but I was able to attend the most recently Tokyopop Insider, which was primarily to highlight their upcoming series, "Neko Ramen."
Neko Ramen is getting a big push from Tokyopop, with its own website, facebook page, and the ability to have sample comics e-mailed directly (via Tokyopop's newletter server) to you every day. The website features a few cute animation tricks and is worth visiting.
For those unfamiliar, Neko Ramen is about a cat that runs a ramen shop and hijinks ensue. I really think that's all you need to know, because that either sells itself or doesn't interest you.
The manga itself is a four-koma style, which means a lot of short gags that are, per Tokyopop, appropriate for all ages. The first volume is set to hit stores June first, with a $10.99 price tag.
Some other things that I caught along the way are noted below. I may have missed a few, as the pace was pretty hectic. Apologies if I have any of this wrong, I tried to write down only the things I heard clearly.
* Gakuen Alice is going to every other month production because of scantilation demand.
* They can't talk about Hetalia, which I guess is a series people want them to license.
* Dazzle 11 is on hold for licensing issues.
* Rising stars of manga is on hiatus.
* East Coast Rising might come back, it's up to Becky Cloonan. [Per Twitter, Ms. Cloonan probably can't fit it in, however.
* Tokyopop has a lot of announcements coming down the pike, and the hosts said they were very excited about what they'd be talking about at the next insider.
* There will be more BLU published on a regular schedule (I thought I heard monthly, but I may be wrong.)
* Tokyopop is looking into getting some Yuri titles, but not enough to start a new publishing line.
* Reprinting old series is something they'd like to do but often can't because the license runs out. [Probably a true comment in light of things like Chobits moving to other publishers, such as Dark Horse.]
* They are working on getting manga onto e-books. They want the images to look right, however, so this might take time. They want them to look "as great as they do on paper."
* Tokyopop is still working on pricing online manga.
* They can't finish legal drug unless CLAMP does!
* Lastly, there was a bit of manhwa discussion, but nothing solid in the works from what I could hear.
About the only thing I found annoying was people who kept asking about Inuyasha, which is pretty clearly a Viz publication, and the general asking of questions there was no way the Tokyopop staff could answer. I quipped that Takahashi was bored today and decided to crash the chat.
There was also one person who had to be the creepy "are you single" chatter. This is why people think male comic fans (Western or otherwise) are awful. Can't we respect a person in their job for a change?
Overall, it was very cool and I wish there were more opportunities like this, a few odd lines of question aside. Tokyopop isn't sure about when the next Insider will be, though they were guessing April. If I'm able to, I'll try to make it again, as it was a fun experience.